Skip to main content
placeholder image

What is the thermoregulatory impact of respiratory protection on RFS volunteer firefighters?

Conference Paper


Abstract


  • This pilot study evaluated the thermoregulatory effects of respirator use on Rural Fire Service

    (RFS) Volunteers completing a 9 stage obstacle course while wearing a disposable, half-face or

    full-face respirator compared to no respirator.

    An experimental study was conducted with 33 participants over the obstacle course designed to

    simulate in-field activities. Core temperature was measured prior to, during and post each course

    run while maximum heart rate and heart rate recovery were measured during and post each

    course run. Participants self-evaluated relative perceived dyspnoea (RPD) post-course, and a

    comfort and PPE compatibility questionnaire was completed for each respirator.

    Core body temperature exceeded 38 ��C with and without a respirator, however there was no

    statistically significant difference when wearing the different respirators compared to not wearing

    a respirator; nor was there a significant difference in core body temperatures between the

    respirator types (p > 0.05). There is thus a potential for heat-related illness regardless of whether

    a respirator is worn.

    Heart rate increased with the use of any of the three respirators compared with no respirator,

    and more participants exceeded their sustained heart rate limit wearing a respirator during the

    obstacle course run than without. However, there was no statistically significant difference in heart

    rate recovery while wearing the different respirators as compared with not wearing a respirator.

    Whilst some of the thermoregulatory outcomes are mixed, the RPD was significantly higher for

    each of the three (3) respirator types when compared to no respirator which may lead to low wear

    time or individuals removing their respirators in high-risk situations.

    Further research is required during actual firefighting conditions with increased radiant thermal

    load to evaluate the physiological effects of respiratory protective equipment (RPE) use on RFS

    Volunteers and to inform the adoption of an RPE program.

Publication Date


  • 2022

Citation


  • Whitelaw, J., Hines, J., & Gopaldasani, V. (2022, March 19). What is the thermoregulatory impact of respiratory protection on RFS volunteer firefighters?. In Australian Institute of Occupational Hygienists Inc 38th Annual Conference & Exhibition (pp. 141). Victoria, Australia: AIOH.

Web Of Science Accession Number


Start Page


  • 141

End Page


  • 141

Volume


Issue


Place Of Publication


  • Victoria, Australia

Abstract


  • This pilot study evaluated the thermoregulatory effects of respirator use on Rural Fire Service

    (RFS) Volunteers completing a 9 stage obstacle course while wearing a disposable, half-face or

    full-face respirator compared to no respirator.

    An experimental study was conducted with 33 participants over the obstacle course designed to

    simulate in-field activities. Core temperature was measured prior to, during and post each course

    run while maximum heart rate and heart rate recovery were measured during and post each

    course run. Participants self-evaluated relative perceived dyspnoea (RPD) post-course, and a

    comfort and PPE compatibility questionnaire was completed for each respirator.

    Core body temperature exceeded 38 ��C with and without a respirator, however there was no

    statistically significant difference when wearing the different respirators compared to not wearing

    a respirator; nor was there a significant difference in core body temperatures between the

    respirator types (p > 0.05). There is thus a potential for heat-related illness regardless of whether

    a respirator is worn.

    Heart rate increased with the use of any of the three respirators compared with no respirator,

    and more participants exceeded their sustained heart rate limit wearing a respirator during the

    obstacle course run than without. However, there was no statistically significant difference in heart

    rate recovery while wearing the different respirators as compared with not wearing a respirator.

    Whilst some of the thermoregulatory outcomes are mixed, the RPD was significantly higher for

    each of the three (3) respirator types when compared to no respirator which may lead to low wear

    time or individuals removing their respirators in high-risk situations.

    Further research is required during actual firefighting conditions with increased radiant thermal

    load to evaluate the physiological effects of respiratory protective equipment (RPE) use on RFS

    Volunteers and to inform the adoption of an RPE program.

Publication Date


  • 2022

Citation


  • Whitelaw, J., Hines, J., & Gopaldasani, V. (2022, March 19). What is the thermoregulatory impact of respiratory protection on RFS volunteer firefighters?. In Australian Institute of Occupational Hygienists Inc 38th Annual Conference & Exhibition (pp. 141). Victoria, Australia: AIOH.

Web Of Science Accession Number


Start Page


  • 141

End Page


  • 141

Volume


Issue


Place Of Publication


  • Victoria, Australia